On November 30, 1957, after the Army-Navy football game, Midshipman Michael Francis Treacy of Santiago, Chile met Joan Braciszewski of Philadelphia, PA at a post-game party in the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel in Philadelphia. Navy won, by the way! As the story goes, Mom left her date in order to spend time with Dad. Writing letters back and forth was the beginning of a long-distance friendship that, within months, became a courtship. The relationship bloomed and they were married in a beautiful “June Week” ceremony at the US Naval Academy Chapel on June 11, 1960. Within a year they became a family with Monica, and then Michael, James and Christopher in the years that followed.
We lost Dad on Tuesday, 7 December, 2021. His passing was peaceful as he held mom’s hand, his wife of sixty-one years.
Dad was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina on August 30, 1936 to Irish American parents. His father, Francis Treacy, was an American businessman, worked in Argentina and then they moved to Chile. From Santiago, Dad left his home, country and family at age 14 to move to the United States where he finished high school at St. John’s Preparatory School in Worcester, Massachusetts and also enlisted in the US Marine Reserves. Observing Dad’s intellect, his Company Officer identified potential in him and helped Dad to win an appointment at the US Naval Academy’s class of 1960. He was active in the USNA Glee Club, the Catholic Choir and in sailing on the Yard Patrol Boats.
Upon earning his “Wings of Gold” in Pensacola, FL he joined the Aviation Anti-Submarine community flying P-2 “Neptunes” and P-3 Orions (as well as S-2’s and S-3’s). In other tours, Dad taught Spanish at the US Naval Academy, was part of the Superintendent’s Executive Staff and was Executive Officer of the ROTC unit at the University of Wisconsin. Dad valued education, and in his free time, he earned an MS from George Washington University and an MBA from the University of Wisconsin.
A tragic accident during his Department Head tour inspired him to choose the Naval Safety Center as his next duty station where he served as an Air Crash Investigator. This experience defined his career, on and off active duty, and set the course for his life. His Safety expertise called him to move to the Pacific Northwest to serve aboard the USS Enterprise as the Safety Officer. The neighbors on Bainbridge Island knew that someone important had arrived when dad would make use of the Captain’s Gig to drop him off at the Point White dock after work!
Dad retired from the US Navy in 1980 after serving 26 years. He joined Hughes Aircraft as a Safety Engineer and was soon scooped up for an opportunity at the Boeing Aircraft Company. At Boeing, Dad was a pioneer in airline Aviation Safety. He published critical global annual reports that were distributed and read across the world. Dad’s natural curiosity and engineer’s mind brought to light practices that made flying safer. This work allowed him to tour the world, inspecting facilities, lecturing and helping airlines to maintain and fly their aircraft more safely. This work continues today and we are all safer in the air because of Dad’s critical work.
In retirement, “Don Miguel” taught Spanish at the Bainbridge Island Senior Center where he was an active member of the community. Dad was a faithful, knowledgeable Catholic, he loved woodworking, and especially loved collecting and using his woodworking tools. He built the Taj Mahal of tree houses for his grandchildren and he enjoyed every moment of his time as an “abuelo” (grandfather). He and Mom moved to Williamsburg in 2009. He was very active with both the local and national chapters of the US Naval Academy Alumni Association, and specifically with the Class of 1960. He was also active in the Ford’s Colony community.
Dad is survived by his wife, Joan B. Treacy; his sisters, Suzanne McGovern and Margaret Boushehri; his children, Monica, Michael (Tiffany), James (Christina) and Christopher (Jennifer); and his grandchildren, Declan, Fiona, Meara, Emily, Lauren, Connor, Hannah and Hagan Treacy.
Dad’s love for mom and for his family was clear to anyone they met. His love for family was always his first priority. Theirs was a partnership of mutual support for one another’s dreams, aspirations, educations and careers despite nine and a half years of separation during Dad’s Navy deployments. If you met Dad, you immediately knew that he was the most interesting man you would ever know. He was well traveled, educated and sophisticated. We remember Dad’s faith, his dry and incisive wit, his intelligence, his curiosity and his love of gadgets, gizmos and whirligigs.
An inurnment ceremony will take place at the US Naval Academy this spring on a date to be determined.
Memorial contributions may be sent to the USO.org in honor of Commander Michael F. Treacy, USN of Williamsburg, VA 23188. Condolences may be shared at www.nelsenwilliamsburg.com.